Barbie 2023 movie review

Barbie embarks on a whimsical journey from her dream house to reality in Greta Gerwig’s latest cinematic venture, “Heaven Down Here.” Renowned for her directorial work on “Little Women,” Gerwig masterfully takes the iconic Mattel toy and affectionately subverts its cultural significance.

This cinematic reinvention, set to premiere on December 14 on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries, unfolds as a delightful blend of influences, reminiscent of a sugar-rush mashup. Drawing inspiration from Pixar’s “Toy Story 2,” Carlo Collodi’s “Pinocchio,” the cult live-action feature “Josie and the Pussycats,” and the Roger Ebert-scripted exploitation romp “Beyond the Valley of the Dolls,” Gerwig crafts a riotously entertaining, candy-colored feminist fable.

The narrative introduces Barbieland, a pastel pink haven where, thanks to Barbie, feminism and equal rights seem to have triumphed. Here, big-haired dolls embody various professions, inspiring real-world feminine achievement. However, beneath the glossy exterior lies a more complex reality. In this self-referential fluff, everyone is Barbie, except the men, who are mere Kens, or in the case of Allan (played by Michael Cera), hapless appendages. At the heart of this narrative is Margot Robbie’s portrayal of the “Stereotypical Barbie,” a role so impeccably fitting that even a sardonic comment by Helen Mirren’s narrator is taken in stride.

Unexpectedly, the perpetually cheerful Barbie finds herself haunted by darker thoughts—sadness, anxiety, and even the dreaded cellulite. A visit to Kate McKinnon’s “Weird Barbie” reveals a wormhole connecting Barbieland to the real world, setting the stage for a journey to reality. Accompanied by Stowaway Ken (Ryan Gosling), Barbie encounters a stark reality dominated by The Patriarchy.

While Mattel HQ, led by Will Ferrell, demands Barbie’s return to the box, the narrative takes an unexpected turn. Barbie meets Sasha (Ariana Greenblatt), a gothy teen who challenges the toy’s impact on women’s self-perception. Barbie discovers that she might have unintentionally contributed to a dystopia where women are objectified, and a prevailing dislike for their gender exists.

Greta Gerwig’s film exudes a rebellious spirit, reminiscent of Todd Haynes’s cult classic “Superstar: The Karen Carpenter Story.” Despite its multiplex-friendly appeal, Gerwig subtly transforms the specter of unrealizable expectations into a liberating parable about embracing one’s identity regardless of societal norms.

The script, co-written with Noah Baumbach, cleverly explores Mattel’s constant reinventions and discontinuations of Barbie models that faced consumer backlash. The film climaxes with a feisty dismantling of male power, propelled by Ryan Gosling’s delightfully vacuous performance as apex-Ken and carried with finesse by Margot Robbie.

“Heaven Down Here” not only pays homage to its source material but invites audiences of all ages to revel in its inclusive, smartly scripted narrative. Robbie and Gerwig’s collaborative efforts ensure that the film remains an audacious and entertaining flim-flam, proving that everything can be awesome, even when it challenges the status quo.

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By acinetv